KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

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KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby msirof2001 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:30 pm

[To understand anything about this thread you have to watch the following presentation of a west coast television station that describes a small boat capsizing in surf. --jimh]

http://ktla.com/2016/10/15/surfers-rescue-dad-and-children-whose-boat-capsized-at-ventura-beach/

From what I can tell, this appears to be a Whaler or maybe a Carolina Skiff Whaler-look-alike. It is hard for me to comprehend doing such a thing alone, but to subject small kids to such a perilous stunt is mind-boggling. Boating near the surf where surfers are in the water is not smart. I'm not sure it is even legal.
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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby Phil T » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:26 pm

According to the story, he was attempting to enter the harbor and missed the markers and tried to pass in-between two breakwaters.

Regardless, running parallel to breaking waves is very dangerous.
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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby jimh » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:54 pm

The KTLA presenter says the boat capsized on a sand trap. Is that what people on the west coast call sand bars? Or was this news presenter just confused? Maybe he is a golfer, not a boater.

Toward the end of the recorded presentation a coast guardsman shows the location of the capsize on an aerial map and describes how the harbor should have been entered. The helmsman did not seem to be taking the usual route that is clearly marked with aids to navigation.

To the helmsman's great good fortune there were no injuries that resulted from his operation of the boat in surf and its capsize on a breaking wave. When the boat capsizes it appears to still be afloat, which further brings into question the notion of a sand bar as causal. It looks to me like the boat was trying to cross a breaking wave by running parallel to and up its breaking wavefront--not a good idea in any boat.

The presentation ends with the suggestion that the boat's operator may be charged by some authority with some sort of violation of law under the general concept of reckless operation.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby msirof2001 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:43 pm

You're right Jimh, "sand trap" is a golf term and is not part of any West Coast boater's dialect. The only way I can think of getting a boat into a sand trap would entail hitting a well positioned ramp at a high rate of speed in the direction of the Pebble Beach country club. I think the reporter meant Sand Bar.

I think a sand bar has built up along the narrow north entrance to Ventura Harbor. The same sand bar causing the breakers to form, attracting the surfers. Interesting how the boat operator sat atop the capsized boat leaving others to rescue the children. With my knowledge of Ventura Harbor and proximity to other harbors, the boater was probably re-entering the harbor after previously exiting. Therefore having exited the main channel containing the navigational aids, knowing the general layout. My thoughts would be that the operator possibly tried to take a shortcut, although the distance to the main channel is not far, or the operator was just showing off, being reckless, possibly trying to surf like the surfers, thinking it could be done. If that hull collided with someone in the water, or if the propeller raked across a surfer's body, it could have been fatal. I once accidently hit, with my 1995 Outrage 21, an Ocean Sunfish (Mola Mola) that was inches beneath the surface. The fish was the size of a human, and it didn't go well for the fish.

I think this guy should be charged with all applicable code violations.
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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby jimh » Mon Oct 17, 2016 8:09 pm

MSIROF--thanks for assurance that west-coast boaters are not in constant fear of "sand traps" that could capsize their boats. This looks like another case of a television new presenter trying to describe something about which he has almost no understanding or background.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby andrey320 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 8:25 pm

That is one of my "home harbors". Yes, entering that way in high surf is not advised and should be timed. The operator was obviously oblivious to this and tried to push through it. Although it is shallow in that area, I do not think there are any spots where it is "that" shallow. Also, I do not see the breakwall that runs parallel to the beach (which you would want to run as close to as possible to stay deep) but he appears to be far from it (too close to shore).

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby Beerspitnight » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:16 am

To be fair, the reporter had sport on his mind from the start of the story. "We talked to so many players..."

That was nuts! It looked like the helmsman was trying to surf his boat on that wave!

Wear your PDFs, boys and girls.
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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby Dutchman » Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:08 am

No matter how you look at it or what a reporter said. IT IS STUPID SKIPPERING. He most have thought he was the captain and stayed with his boat instead of helping his children. Too many boat owners that don't know how to boat and disregard simple safety rules and precautions.
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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby MillieTheBoat » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:19 pm

The family was very lucky. Not sure if the father had some basic boating education.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby jimh » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:10 am

MILLIE'--Do you know the boat operator or his history of boating education courses?

MILLIE---Have you taken any boat handling courses which provide instructions on how to handle a boat when you are trapped near shore in large breaking waves? If so, can you share the advice you received in the boating education course regarding boat handling in breaking waves near shore. Thanks.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby Oldslowandugly » Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:43 pm

I took the USCG auxiliary safe boating course.The instructor was very clear about operating near the surf line: STAY AWAY. He said, "if you want to fish in the surf, go home and get your surf rod- never take a boat anywhere near the surf."

That operator is a complete idiot and should not be allowed to own a boat. I'll bet his kids agree with me.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby jimh » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:54 pm

OLD'--your instructor's advice to NEVER get trapped in breaking waves near shore is good advice, but it does not offer any advice about how to handle the boat if the boat DOES get trapped in surf near shore.

Did your instructor give you any advice on what ought to be done if you find yourself at the helm of a small boat that is in breaking waves close to shore? Share that advice, if you received it.

It is not particularly instructive to comment that it was a bad decision to enter the surf zone near shore in a small boat. But it would be more instructive to offer some advice on what ought to be done to get out of the surf zone near shore. Can anyone offer that advice?

Also, you and others are being rather hard on the poor fellow whose boat capsized in surf. He might have made a mistake in navigation, got trapped in the surf, and was trying to out run it. It is quite easy to make a mistake in operating a boat and to suddenly get into an unexpected and hazardous situation. It happens to all boaters all the time.

Most of use have slowly and over the years acquired enough experience that we can appreciate how fast things can go wrong, and, because of that awareness, we are able to look ahead, use some anticipation, and we can avoid SOME of the pitfalls. But no one can always avoid every possible wrong decision. We all make a bad move once in a while. It's just that most of the time it is not recorded by someone and then posted to a prominent website.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby Tom Hemphill » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:47 pm

I do not cut the idiot operator of that boat any slack whatsoever. When he saw there were surfers/swimmers where he was operating he should have turned around and left the way he arrived.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby andrey320 » Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:28 pm

From some small boat operation training, personal experience, and lots of kayak beach launching and landing:

ADVICE FOR OPERATING BOAT IN SURF:

--watch the sets for a few minutes; stay outside in the rollers and observe. Look for where the waves are breaking and timing of the set (waves come in waves);

--time your entry based on your observation from the above;

--do not surf, avoid breaking waves;

--if caught "inside", run for cover if possible (between waves) but turn directly into [a] less-than-45-degree quartering angle to the waves when faced with a possibility of capsizing;

--avoid being parallel to breaking waves and be cautious with waves behind you.

Some boats hate going down waves and will start to dig in easily. Whalers (at least my little 15 Dauntless) feels relatively comfortable [going down waves] but certainly has its limits.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby jimh » Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:54 pm

ANDREY--thanks for the good advice. That is much more useful than condemnations of some unfortunate boater who got caught in surf.

Your advice to "turn directly into to [a] less-than-45-degree quartering angle to the waves when faced with a possibility of capsizing" is good advice. Being caught in the trough and taking a breaking wave abeam is most likely to lead to broaching and capsize, as demonstrated in the presentation.

Based on what can be seen in the recorded presentation, I think the boat could have exited the surf zone if the operator had reduced speed and turned into the waves. A large wave coming over the bow might have brought aboard a lot of water, but if the boat was not flipped over, I think it could have made it out. It is a tough call. If too much water comes aboard the boat become less stable with all that free water moving around.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby MillieTheBoat » Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:55 pm

jimh wrote:MILLIE'--Do you know the boat operator or his history of boating education courses?
MILLIE---Have you taken any boat handling courses which provide instructions on how to handle a boat when you are trapped near shore in large breaking waves? If so, can you share the advice you received in the boating education course regarding boat handling in breaking waves near shore. Thanks.


No. I don't know the boat operator or his history that's why I asked if he had some boating education. If he had, he would not get himself in this situation in the first place.

Most of my boating experience was learning online, reading books and also a friend who owns a boat for 40 years and has a 100ton captain license and spent a few weeks with me teaching basic stuff. I have not gotten myself to the point near the shore with big waves as in this video and I know better not getting myself in a situation like this. Basic navigation back to the harbor is something I know. I guess if I was in the situation like this man (emergency?), I would not go in parallel with the wave and maybe at a 90 degrees angle with my outboard up and let the boat ride straight into the sand. It there was no sand or beach, I would throw my anchor and call for help.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby jimh » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:45 pm

MillieTheBoat wrote:I don't know the boat operator or his history that's why I asked if he had some boating education.


I must have missed your question. I read your statement that you were not sure if he had taken boating education.

MillieTheBoat wrote:If he had [taken some boating education], he would not get himself in this situation in the first place.


I don't know that having had "some boating education" would be a guarantee that you would never find yourself in a dangerous situation when boating. I have taken many boating education courses, but I do not recall any of them offering any advice on how to operate a boat when close to shore in breaking waves.

Certainly it would have been better to enter the harbor by using the buoyed channel, but no one here can really know why the boater did not take the proper channel into the harbor. Anyone who has been on the water for more than ten minutes knows that it is quite possible to misinterpret the appearance of harbors and aids to navigation when seen from seaward. They do not always appear exactly as shown on navigation charts.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby jimh » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:47 pm

Not being familiar with Ventura, California, I have to ask: is it typical for 17-foot open boats to enter and exit the harbor?

On days when there is "high surf" (as the coastguard man described), is it typical for 17-foot open outboard boats to leave Ventura harbor for the Pacific Ocean?

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby andrey320 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:03 pm

jimh wrote:Not being familiar with Ventura, California, I have to ask: is it typical for 17-foot open boats to enter and exit the harbor?

On days when there is "high surf" (as the coastguard man described), is it typical for 17-foot open outboard boats to leave Ventura harbor for the Pacific Ocean?


Last Saturday, I launched out of Ventura Harbor in my 15 Dauntless and headed for Santa Cruz island. After getting there, I went another 20 miles along the North side of the island for a total of 70 miles covered. It was foggy but my new VHF with AIS receiver helped me be aware of the ship traffic around. When the weather is nice, small boats do operate around the Channel Islands.

When there is a high surf advisory, it is up to the boater to decide if it is worth it. I've done it and felt uncomfortable out there and turned back. Now I watch the weather like a hawk, only go when it is nice and will not hesitate to change plans or cancel.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby jimh » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:14 pm

I spoke with the harbormaster of Ventura harbor. I learned a great deal more about this incident from our conversation:

--the boat was likely a Boston Whaler boat; he could not be 100-percent certain;

--the boat was proceeding southward from north of Ventura and approaching the harbor along the coastline;

--the operator mistook the breakwall as the harbor entrance; instead of turning to seaward, going outside the breakwall, and then turning into the harbor, the operator took a course line to duck inside the breakwall; the harbormaster indicated that this mistake occurs frequently;

--in normal conditions making a mistake and trying to enter the harbor by ducking behind the N-S breakwall would not be a problem for a small boat, but on this particular day there was high surf, with some waves approaching 10-feet; once the boat was into the surf zone it was in danger;

--the area in which the boat was operating is indeed a called a "sand trap," that is, an area intentionally designed to accumulate and trap sand, which created the shoaling which created the breaking waves; the wave height in this area builds rapidly as the bottom shoals; these wave heights would not exist outside of this limited region;

My take-away from this conversation: the boater made an error in entering the harbor, but he was not the first to make this mistake. He probably won't be the last.

Also, NOAA navigation charts carry this note about Ventura harbor, which seems quite prophetic:

Mariners could encounter severe wave action at the entrance.


The fellow has my sympathy. It was his good fortune that no one was injured. And his Boston Whaler boat--if that is one--seems to have survived the capsize without great damage.

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby MillieTheBoat » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:11 pm

Jim, thank you for sharing your findings.

If the officials knew about the recurrent problem, why [didn't they] put a sign at the break wall with navigational aids such as "do not enter" [in a] diamond shape on that side?

Also, studying a never-visited harbor via Google Earth or Google Map and then the navigational chart in advance, prior to launching, will also help avoiding these types of mistakes.

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Small boat capsizes in surf at Oxnard, California

Postby MillieTheBoat » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:21 pm

[A small boat capsized in the surf at night at] Oxnard, California.

http://abc7.com/news/familys-boat-overt ... d/1573805/
[You have to sit through a long commercial to see a long report that consists mainly of interviews with responders concerning the capsize of an Edgewater boat in surf at night. There is no video of the boat capsizing.--jimh]

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Re: KTLA News Reports on Small Boat Capsize Entering Ventura Harbor

Postby jimh » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:58 pm

The take-away from the Oxnard capsize: do not put four people on a 13-foot boat, go out at night into the Pacific ocean hauling lobster traps, get trapped in a surf zone, and have your boat capsize. Do wear your PFD. (All aboard were wearing their PFDs according to the report.) There is a boating accident everyday, but I don't think we can chronicle all of them and discuss all of them.